While Pitt may have good intentions, I get the feeling that he doesn’t understand the purpose money or the value of capitalism. Capitalism isn’t dishonorable. Capitalism is noble and practical. For, a man must seek material riches “in so far as they are necessary for him to live in keeping with his condition of life,” says Aristotelian philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica.
There is nothing inherently wrong with pursuing material wealth. As Aquinas points out, pursuing wealth could be part of your “condition” or vocation. For example, if you’re the founder and CEO of a company that creates jobs for hundreds of people, the honorable thing to do is to pursue greater (“excess”) profits so that you can hire more people and ensure the job security of your employees who currently depend on you.
Money is a necessary tool whereby humans achieve productivity. So, when the government unjustly appropriates money from wealthy entrepreneurs who need their wealth in order to invest, take risks, grow their companies and create jobs, the government is greedy—not the wealthy individuals. A greedy person— or institution—wastes and abuses money by pursuing excessive wealth for no productive reason.
Last week, Bill O’Reilly said: “It's about efficiency and fairness. Why should I, or you, work hard everyday so some guy in a suit can have a $16 muffin? … I've paid my fair share for 35 years, Mr. President. And you and other politicians have squandered my labor. Squandered it. So until the feds and the states demand efficiency and cut the crap, I will oppose targeted tax increases.”
The government is not acting in the best interest of society by taxing rich people more. Instead, the government is sending the rich Americans overseas, along with the investments, jobs, security and happiness that they create.
In the President’s speech on reducing the deficit last week, he said that taxing the wealthiest Americans more to pay for excessive government spending is “fair” and “just the right the thing to do.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that the richest Americans “pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.” Additionally, “…the tax code is riddled with more than $1 trillion in deductions, exemptions and credits, and they benefit people at every income level…”
Asking wealthy job creators to give the government more isn’t fair. It’s not tax reform. It’s greed. Government greed.
Pitt, Cuban, Schmidt and Buffett each used capitalism to attain financial independence. If they wish to pay more taxes, they are free to write a blank check to the IRS. But they should stop criticizing capitalism and free market policies because every American deserves a shot at attaining financial freedom and professional success—not just them.